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Progress in Juvenile Justice: 2017

There has been no shortage of issues facing advocates of juvenile justice reform, the age at which offenders are tried as adults, the use of juvenile life without parole, racial disparities, and failures to provide adequate rehabilitation, education, and mental health resources foremost among them. Like many of the challenges facing the nation’s collective corrections system, such as overcrowding and sentencing disparities, these issues arose mostly in response to the “get tough on crime” political environment that emerged in the 1980s in response to rising crime rates and spreading drug-related violence. The pendulum has begun to swing back toward moderation, and in 2017 several state legislatures passed significant reforms to their juvenile justice systems.